July 14,2010

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Statement of Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.) at Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Host Committee Launch

Oliver Wendell Holmes said:  “The great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.” 

For the first 200 years of this country’s history, we looked in one direction.  We built deep trade and economic ties with our partners across the Atlantic.  And we allied with our partners across the Atlantic on crucial strategic and diplomatic matters. 

In today’s world, these economic and strategic ties across the Atlantic are more important than ever.

But as any sailor knows, to move forward, you cannot move in only one direction.  Rather, you must calibrate your direction to the direction of the wind.  And today, strong winds are blowing across the Pacific.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, or APEC, was formed to capture this wind.  This premier organization of 21 economies deepens trade and economic ties among its members.  It fosters relationships among developed and developing economies.  And it encourages its members to tear down their trade barriers and open their markets.

Together, the APEC economies represent almost 55 percent of the world economy, and almost 45 percent of world trade.  And they account for more than 40 percent of the world’s population.

In 2008 alone, U.S. goods trade with the APEC region totaled $2.1 trillion dollars.  And U.S. exports to the APEC region have increased by nearly $180 billion in the last ten years. 

These numbers make the case for APEC.  And they demonstrate why we must champion APEC. 

As APEC succeeds in breaking down trade and investment barriers, the United States and other APEC economies will succeed in increasing exports and jobs.

That’s why I am so proud that the United States is hosting APEC in 2011.  And that’s why I worked so hard to bring the APEC Trade Ministers meeting to Big Sky, Montana. 

But just as APEC requires cooperation among its members to succeed, hosting APEC in the United States will require cooperation among all of us to succeed.  The government and the private sector must come together to open America’s doors for this event.  We must show our commitment to deepening our trade and investment ties across the Asia-Pacific region.  And we must show our renewed commitment to APEC.

I know that Montana is up to the task.  From our ranchers and farmers, to our manufacturers, to our burgeoning innovative industries, Montanans are engaging in international trade.  

And Montanans are aware of the importance of the Asia-Pacific region.  

In 1999, Montana exported over $354 million worth of goods to the APEC region.  In 2009, Montana exported goods totaling nearly $900 million to the APEC region.  In short, Montana’s exports to APEC nearly tripled over the last decade.

I know Montanans will throw open their doors to the APEC Trade Ministers.  And I know with your help we can give the Trade Ministers a great welcome.

I look forward to working with you in the coming months as we work to host an APEC meeting that we can all be proud of.  I look forward to working with you in the coming years as we develop a deeper relationship with the Asia-Pacific region.  And I look forward to seeing you, next year in Montana.